Replacement versus imitator

Next March in the Netherlands, there’s an offline and online event called ‘The National Week Without Meat’, with 43 brands participating. Most of those brands produce or sell meat substitutes, and aim to sell those through the week-long PR machine.

The most visible absentee is the brand ‘De Vegetarische Slager’ (‘The Vegetarian Butcher’), yet it follows their brand strategy of not trying to replace meat, but trying to imitate it. Imitation ties into their name, product range as well as product names, which are puns of meat names.

Saying no to the ’National Week Without Meat’ is a fine piece of brand placement. While semantically, the difference between meat ‘imitation’ and ‘replacement’ is a subtle one, it’s a huge difference in the mind of the consumer. Just think about the difference between a soya burger or an imitation-meat beef burger. De Vegetarische Slager is playing a different game than the 43, and knows that brand consistency stems from saying no as much as yes, be it in business or brand management.